Security Experts:

Obama Weighs Executive Order Option for Cybersecurity Provisions

After Senate Republicans smacked down the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 last week, the Obama administration is said to be weighing its options, and could bypass Congress altogether, using executive orders to mandate parts of the failed bill.

According to The Hill, a blog reporting on Congressional activities, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the nation would continue to be hamstrung by outdated statutes.  

“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed,” he said.

Senate Stalls with Amendments to Cybersecurity Bill

“Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that.”

Absolutely everything could very well mean issuing executive orders to enact many of the core provisions, within the failed – and arguably watered down – legislation. However, if that happens, it wouldn’t be a major step, most of the companies managing critical infrastructure are already highly regulated. It’s these companies that would feel the impact of the Cybersecurity Act first.

“An executive order may accomplish many of the goals of the Cybersecurity Act, but it could also further raise the ire of Republicans and the business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who lobbied against the legislation,” The Hill’s report added.

Before it went to the Senate, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 underwent several changes, taking most of the contested wording out, and replacing it with a minimum security requirement for critical infrastructure providers.

SecurityWeek’s Fahmida Rashid covered the final changes to the proposed legislation before the Senate smacked it down, giving it just 52 of the required 60 votes needed to pass the upper house. Among the last minute changes, items completely unrelated to the issue at hand including abortion, and gun control.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.